Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Glaze Challenge

People often ask if I offer classes. I teach, but not at my studio. I'm not set up for that, and more than that I am far, far too much of an introvert to feel comfortable with other people in my space on the regular. Just in the last year or two introversion has become fashionable, with entire articles written about how to interact with us, as if we were some rare species of  gnu that might shy away or bite if not handled properly. Or maybe an orchid, that would wither if exposed to too much personal interaction.

These articles make me laugh - I promise you, you've been successfully interacting with introverts all your life without an instruction manual! I'm not a fragile flower (although I am a snowflake, I must be, strangers [mostly unpleasant ones] tell me so every single day!) and I don't require delicate handling. I do recharge myself with alone time, and being social is work for me. But as I often say, anything worth doing is a lot of work! Some things which are work are also fun.

ANYWAY. Got off track. As I was saying, I don't offer classes here, but I do teach a few classes at Portland Pottery. I teach adults, at mixed skill levels. Beginners are the easiest - anything I show them advances their knowledge. ANY project will grow their skills. My later intermediate & advanced students are trickier; I want to help them pursue their own projects but I also want to push them a little. It's easy when you are finally making things you like to stop striving for new skills - that's why you need a teacher.

Our latest class project was designed to push people to try new surface treatments. I found and printed out some color/ pattern swatches, snipped them to about 2" x 2" so they wouldn't be recognizable as paintings, fabric, ceramics, or whatever. I put the bits of paper in a bowl and had students reach in & pull one out. That then was their assignment: replicate that as a ceramic surface, using any method available. Here are some of our results:

I am missing a few - I swear I took photos of all of them but somehow the photos are nowhere.

Underglaze was a popular approach, and some people tried underglaze crayons for the first time. There were wax/latex patterns, and brave efforts to try and apply glazes in such a way as to replicate the look.

I often do some version of a class project, and thins was one of my favorites! It was great fun for me to see the different approaches people took. I will find ten more snips online, and we will do this project again.

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